FAIRHOPE—I am at a mass hugging. There is a roomful of people trapped in this bookstore. They have formed a single file line to let me vandalize their books with my sloppy signature. And I have hugged maybe two hundred folks at this book signing.
Nobody gets away without a hug.
I don’t even ask permission to hug people anymore. I just put my arms around them and squeeze. My wife and I have traveled to half the U.S. doing my little one-man show, and do you know what I’ve discovered? Ninety-nine point nine-nine-nine-nine-nine percent of all people like hugs. Multiplied times pi.
Though, every now and then you do run into a real life Ebenezer Scrooge who still uses corncobs instead of Charmin. Like tonight. One woman in line says, “I don’t hug. I’m Presbyterian. No thank you.”
This gal came to the wrong clam bake. I was raised Southern Baptist. And even though Presbyterians know how to read better than we do, in a hug-off, we Baptists win every time.
In fact, the only time a Southern Baptist can lose at competition-style hugging is when he goes to Sand Mountain, Alabama, and attends a Church of God. Those people are crazy.
So I hugged this woman anyway. At first, our hug was about as emotionally gratifying as televised golf, but after I held her a few seconds she loosened up and started laughing. Then she actually squeezed me and it was another victory.
Baptists 1; Presbyterians 0.
Look, I don’t want to come off sounding like a touchy-feely weirdo straight out of Woodstock, but I am big on hugs. I do not want to live in a world where hugs are not a thing.
Lately, I’ve been traveling around the Southeast, and lots of people have been extremely weird about hugging because of the coronavirus headlines. But if you ask me this is when we need hugs the…